Nazxul - _Totem_
(Vampire Records, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (5 out of 10)
The best stuff on this CD is just pulverizing. The problem is, it's basically all contained in one or two songs. "Distance Begins" is a percussive powerhouse of mid-paced riffs mixed with frightening blasts of amazing speed and a cool synthesized interlude. This song is a monster, and the otherworldly blur of "Amidst the Flames" is pretty impressive, too. Still, I find the rest of this Australian black metal band's debut much less enjoyable. The blasting snare drum often sounds really flat, while the strange vocals are filtered through some distorting effects and punched so far up in the mix that they frequently overwhelm the music. But my main gripe is with the music itself. Definitive black metal bands like Marduk and Setherial weave together icy vocals, creepy riffs, and blasting percussion into a charging, cohesive whole. Nazxul, on the other hand, often just excrete a smear of chaotic noise in which there's no discernible connection between the riff and the (blast) beat and the vocal phrasings, except that they're all being played at the same time. Plus, most of the riffs are completely unmemorable. The two tracks mentioned above are killer, but for the most part _Totem_ is quite weak.

(article published 17/7/1996)

4/28/2003 J Montague 8.5 Nazxul - Live
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